Access Utah

Weekdays 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Access Utah is UPR's original program focusing on the things that matter to Utah. The hour-long show airs daily at 9:00 a.m. and covers everything from pets to politics in a range of formats from in-depth interviews to call-in shows.

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Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core to counter the growing problem of religious intolerance and violence at home and abroad. IFYC trains students to bridge the faith-divide through interfaith cooperation. Patel says that “interfaith interactions can be a bomb of destruction, a barrier of division, a bubble of isolation, or a bridge of cooperation.” He says that he’s inspired to build a bridge of cooperation by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship.

Why do we fear vaccines? Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She concludes that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world. In her new book “On Immunity: An Inoculation,” Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She asks what are we more afraid of: the needle, the disease, our scientists and doctors, or each other? As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Susan Sontag’s “AIDS and Its Metaphors,” the philosophy of Kierkegaard, and beyond. “On Immunity” shows how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.

Off the grid, living without dependence
Nick Rosen

The grid is everywhere, sending power to the light switch on the wall and water to the faucet in the kitchen. But is it essential? Must we depend on it and the corporate and government infrastructure behind it? My guest on Monday’s AU is Nick Rosen, who has traveled the United States, spending time with all kinds of individuals and families striving to live their lives free from dependence on municipal power and amenities, and free from dependence on the government and its far-reaching tentacles.

Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley

Frankenstein brings to mind Boris Karloff’s character in the 1931 film, or monster masks worn for Halloween. The book, however, surprises those who think they know the story. It’s a thought-provoking tale examining education, knowledge, and society.  Goodreads says “Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation, genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.”

Robin Williams, Hope, Suicide book cover
Utah Public Radio

Robin Williams’ apparent suicide has us not only remembering his life and talent but trying to come to terms with the reality of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, "Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.7 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts made annually." Utah author and suicide prevention advocate Wendy Parmley knows this reality all too well. Her new book “Hope after Suicide: One Woman's Journey from Darkness to Light,” details her journey following the suicide death of her mother nearly 40 years ago. She was 12-years-old at the time, the oldest of five children, and her mother was just 31. For years, Ms. Parmley locked away the pain of her mother's death. But after a disabling bike accident in September 2011 that left her unable to return to her nursing career, she began to write her mother's story--and her own healing journey began.

She says, “I know too well the feelings of loss, helplessness, and hopelessness that follow the suicide death of a loved one and I mourn for Williams' family, for his wife, and for his children who must continue to live in the aftermath of his unexpected death. Suicide's effects are devastating, its impact vast... [But] I know there can be hope after suicide. There is light beyond the darkness. I'm confident [I] can help those who have survived suicide loss understand they are not alone. My purpose with 'Hope After Suicide' is to reach out to others who have experienced the tragic loss of loved ones to suicide, to those who are contemplating suicide, and to those who are still silent, not knowing what to say."

The legendary conflict between sheepherder Frank Clark and Old Ephraim the giant bear is one of the most widely-told stories in the Logan area. Old Ephraim was a very large grizzly who roamed the Cache National Forest from about 1911 until his death on August 22, 1923. Old Ephraim stories are still told. We’re going to talk about local legends on Monday’s AU.

Jeff Guinn, author of “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson” (now out in paperback) says he wanted to answer two questions with the book: “Why does Manson’s name still resonate with us, all these years after those famous murders? And what happened in his life to make him the way he turned out?” Guinn says that in answering those questions “it was really like a trip across American history because Manson represents so many aspects of American society.” More than 40 years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

 

Fairy tales have endured as a part of our culture since at least the days of the Brothers Grimm, and they’re  still going strong on television, movies and books today. What do fairy tales mean? What do they reflect in our shared concerns? And what does the continuing trend toward fractured and reinvented fairy tales say about us? We’ll talk about this with Lynne McNeill, an instructor and director of online development for the folklore program at Utah State University and co-founder of and faculty advisor for the USU Folklore Society; and Utah author RaShelle Workman, who writes reinvented fairy tales. Her books include “A Beauty So Beastly,” in which she imagines what would happen if the beauty was also the beast. And her “Blood and Snow” series is a retelling of Snow White with a vampire twist.

At 22, Michael Leach’s dream of becoming a Yellowstone ranger came true. It wasn’t long before he’d earned the nickname “Rev” for his powerful Yellowstone “sermons.”  In Grizzlies on My Mind: Essays of Adventure, Love, and Heartache from Yellowstone Country,” Leach shares his love for Yellowstone—its landscapes and wildlife, especially its iconic bison and grizzlies—as he tells stories of human lives lost, efforts to save a black bear cub, a famous wolf who helped Leach through some dark personal days, the unique and often humorous Yellowstone “culture,” backpacking trips that nearly ended in disaster, and Leach’s spiritual journey with his Assiniboine-Gros Ventre “brother.”


 

Lewis Buzbee was a self-proclaimed “average student,” one whose parents did not go to college. After the death of his father he began to spiral downward, but was saved from failing high school by attentive teachers-teachers who had ample resources thanks to a well-funded California school system. But now, schools have been devastated by funding cuts, and Buzbee wonders in his new book “Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom,” if it’s still possible to save at-risk students when “the public will to fund public education remains pallid, timid, hypocritical.” Searching for solutions, Buzbee looks to the origins of kindergarten, muses on the architecture of schools, and organizing principles and objects of the classroom like the blackboard and the desk, to discover what those spaces and objects tell students about the importance of learning. Buzbee offers insight not only as a student but also as a teacher and a father, contrasting his daughter’s experiences with his own. And, in the book’s epilogue, he offers a seven-point “immodest proposal” to save our schools.

tradeandexportme.com

We’re putting more and more of our lives in the cloud. More and more our transactions are electronic, which is convenient and fast. But is it safe? How secure is all that stuff in the cloud or moving around electronically, like your credit card information or your bank records? Malware might have your computer linked into fraudulent activity right now without your knowledge. And how vulnerable are we to surveillance, by government or anyone else? The USU Huntsman School Partners in Business Information Technology Conference featured a panel discussion on security in February.

It’s all there in “Latter-day Lore: Mormon Folklore Studies” (from University of Utah Press) -- The Three Nephites, The Beehive, Creative Date Invitations, BYU Coed Jokes, The Folklore of Mormon Missionaries, The Apocalypse, and more. “Latter-day Lore” explores society, symbols, and landscape of regional culture; formative customs and traditions; the sacred and the supernatural; pioneers, heroes, and the historical imagination; humor; and the international contexts of Mormon folklore. On Thursday’s AU we’ll revisit a conversation with the editors: Eric A.

Hooman Majd: The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to not stay cover
Hooman Majd

In 2011, with U.S.–Iran relations at a thirty-year low, Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd decided to take his blonde, blue-eyed Midwestern wife Karri and his infant son Khash from their Brooklyn neighborhood to spend a year in the land of his birth. “The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay” traces their domestic adventures and tracks the political drama of a terrible year for Iran's government. The Green Movement had been crushed, but the regime was on edge, anxious lest democratic protests resurge.

We remember Ed Abbey, author of “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and “Desert Solitaire,” and consider his legacy. What is Abbey's relevance today? What is the status of the environmental movement today? We’ll talk about Abbey's political philosophies, rooted in traditions of anarchism and civil disobedience, the rise of Earth First! out of Abbey's writings, and "monkeywrenching" today, including Abbey’s influence on activists like Tim DeChristopher.

Listen to Access Utah here.

al.nd.edu

In his book, “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society,” Notre Dame History Professor Brad Gregory shows how the unsolved doctrinal disagreements and religious and political conflicts of 16th- and 17th-century Europe continue to influence American political, social, intellectual, and economic life today.

He asks what propelled the West into a trajectory of pluralism, polarization and consumerism, and finds answers deep in our medieval Christian past.

How to Quinoa book cover
Amazon

Forget the royal baby and Suri Cruise. Meet Quinoa, a viral sensation and star of the popular Pinterest board, My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter. Quinoa is a trendy, fashion-forward girl who, when she’s not hanging out with her BFFs Chevron and Aioli, is teaching the world about proper parenting, fashion and accessorization, etiquette for play dates, and much more.

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a high plateau in a mountainous region where there were gold-digging ants. This launched the myth of Tibet as a place of beauty, riches and peace. University of Cambridge Professors, Lezlee Brown Halper and Stefan Halper, were invited to visit Tibet in 1997 as guests of the Chinese government. The only way to see the place while they were there was to sneak out of their hotel window, past their Chinese guards at 3 a.m. They were shocked by the real Tibet they encountered: a 180 degree departure from the myth.

usu.edu

M. B. McLatchey is recipient of the May Swenson Poetry Award for “The Lame God,” a collection of powerful poems on a very sensitive subject: the kidnap and murder of a young girl. Using the art of poetry she gives voice to a suffering—and a love—that might otherwise go unheard. Philip Brady says of this collection, “in magisterial cadences, this powerful poetic sequence gives voice to the unspeakable and transposes profound grief into immortal song. McLatchey's poems are talismans and spells--not against loss but against forgetting.

What’s on your nightstand or in your beach bag? Periodically we come together as a UPR community to build a reading list. And It’s time once again. We want to know what you’re reading, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, classic literature, young adult or children’s books. You may have discovered a great read that we’d enjoy.  You can post your book list to upraccess@gmail.com or call 1-800-826-1495 during Access Utah Tuesday from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Elaine Thatcher will join Tom Williams for the program; and we’ll check in with Catherine Weller from Weller Book Works in SLC and other booksellers.

Access Utah Booklist:

Frederick Law Olmsted video shot
PBS

Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, made public parks an essential part of American life and forever changed our relationship with public open spaces. He was co-designer of Central Park, head of the first Yosemite commission, leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, site planner for the Great White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, planner of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of green space, and of park systems in many other cities.

Olmsted’s design of the public parks and parkway systems in Buffalo, New York, is the oldest coordinated system in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To Olmsted, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life. His efforts to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in American politics. “Olmsted has a double legacy," says writer Adam Gopnik. "On the one hand, he’s a super pragmatist; he’s a problem solver. At the same time, he’s a dreamer. What his parks are all about is finding immensely practical solutions to the problem of building a dream in the middle of a city."

Beyond Versus: The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture
MIT Press

If scientists supposedly now agree it’s not nature versus nurture; but the interaction of nature and nurture, why does the debate still go on? James Tabery, Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Utah says it’s because those scientists aren’t just arguing about data and results. They’re engaged in a fundamentally philosophical debate about what “the interaction of nature and nurture” actually means. He says that “from disputes in the 1930s regarding eugenic sterilizations, to controversies in the 1970s about the gap in IQ scores for black and white Americans, to the contemporary debate about the causes of depression—this frustratingly persistent debate keeps emerging, even as the cast and context of each iteration of that debate changes from decade to decade.”

gulp book cover
Mary Roach

In “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” Mary Roach explores the much-maligned but vital tube from mouth to rear that turns food into the nutrients that keep us alive. She introduces us to scientists who tackle questions no one else thinks to ask. Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why do Americans eat, on average, no more than thirty different foods on a regular basis? “Gulp” is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

chuckgreaves.com

In May of 1934, outside of Hugo, Oklahoma, a homeless man and his 13 year-old daughter are befriended by a Texas drifter newly released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. The drifter, Clint Palmer, lures father and daughter to Texas, where the father, Dillard Garrett, mysteriously disappears, and where his daughter Lucile begins a one-year ordeal that culminates in four Utah killings and Palmer’s notorious Greenville, Texas “skeleton murder” trial of 1935. 


amazon.com

Lily Nakai and her family lived in southern California, where sometimes she and a friend dreamt of climbing the Hollywood sign that lit the night. At 10, believing that her family was simply going on a “camping trip,” she found herself living in a tar-papered barracks, nightly gazing out instead at a searchlight. She wondered if anything would ever be normal again. 

nicholasbasbanes.com

Nicholas Basbanes is author of a trilogy on all things book-related including “A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books,” In his latest, “On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History,” he considers everything from paper’s invention in China two thousand years ago, which revolutionized human civilization, to its crucial role in the unfolding of historical events, political scandals, and sensational trials: from the American Revolution to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. 

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